13 Amazing Charcuterie Board Ideas
Everybody loves them. They are the epitome of entertaining. The symbol of great, finger-licking French food with minimal effort. Here are some of the greatest charcuterie board ideas!
Cured meats piled high, all types of cheeses, fruit, nuts, all the crackers or types of bread you can think of, herbs, sauces, spreads, pastes, dips, pickles, and… you name it! What isn’t on a charcuterie board?!
What is charcuterie?
Let’s start with the basics. Charcuterie is the craft of preparing cured or smoked meats. A charcuterie board is the meat version of a cheeseboard, though they contain cheeses, as you’ll see.
They can contain everything you want them to. There are so many variations for a perfect bite! Jams with meats? Fruit and cheeses? Veggies and dips? Bread and spreads? They go great one with the other. So how about having them all in one place? Yes, please! We have so many charcuterie board ideas, you’ll see there’s no end to the imagination and creativity.
How to create a charcuterie board
Well, while in time you’ll master the art, you can start with a simple formula. Respect this yummy template and your board will be memorable. The key is to split your board into categories. After that, you should always have ingredients that complement each other. For instance:
It helps to start with bowls
Jams, preserves, dips, yogurt, mustard, mayo, jelly, pesto, you name it! Whatever you feel goes with the food, put it there. You can also add nuts, mozzarella balls, or chocolate candy in bowls.
The bowls will keep the food in place and they are great to stack and pile other elements onto them. Play with shapes and textures. Contrasting shapes look amazing when close to each other.
Place the hard meats and cheeses
Cubes of cheese, slices of cheese, wedges, grated cheese, hard pieces or balls of mozzarella, or triangle pieces of cheese, round pieces of cheese. They look impressive and are delicious. Gouda and other Dutch cheeses, blue cheese, brie, Swiss, cheddar, Gruyère, Pecorino Romano, Provolone, don’t forget about your delicious blocks of cheese!
And the meats. Italian salami, pepperoni, Genoa salami, chorizo, any type of hard meat will look great there. Add a nice-looking knife close to them and let people dig in!
You can place them partially sliced for extra effect. And place them close to the hard cheeses that also need slicing, such as cheddar or Manchego. Soft, spreadable cheeses are also welcome. Place crackers close to these. Maybe add some spicy jelly or sweet jam on top! The trick with charcuteries: keep everything in groups!
After that, the soft meats and cheeses
Easy-to-grab, already sliced and ready-to-eat soft meats (prosciutto, jamón Ibérico, capicola, ham, bacon, bologna, why not?) are not to be missed. Nicely folded meats look great. So do creamy cheeses, like ricotta, and nicely fanned-out sliced meat.
Add crackers and bread
This part is important. Bread and crackers are building blocks for the layers of food. Biscuits, crackers, and many types of bread, with seeds and different colors, will make everybody happy. You can even add croissants, cookies, bagels, and even bruschettas with some of your favorite toppings. Mushrooms, tomato & basil, salmon & capers, artichokes.
Dips, spreads, sauces, jams, and what not
You can always add other delicious, creamy spreads, such as hummus, tzatziki, eggplant paste, baba ganoush, yogurt, chicken liver pâté, or hot dips. Place the slices of bread close to the spreadable foods.
Don’t forget about veggies, fruit, leaves, herbs & garnish
Again, you can do no wrong! After the main elements are in place, start adding the decor. Fill in the gaps on the charcuterie board with in season fruit. Grapes, berries, pears, and apples go well with cheeses. Melon, apricots, peaches, plums go great with jamon.
Figs, dates, dried apricots, plums, pineapple, banana chips, raisins, nuts, salads, leaves, herbs, slices of bell peppers, tomatoes, onion rings, cucumbers, pickles, don’t forget about them. Honeycomb, olives, mint, rosemary, or thyme twigs: whatever you fancy!
- You can add your veggies raw or roasted. Roasted cauliflower, blistered tomatoes, roasted peppers, edamame, or asparagus are great choices. Even potato chips!
- Carrots, sliced radishes, cherry tomatoes, snap peas, cucumbers, don’t leave them out! They’ll add a touch of freshness.
Try these charcuterie board ideas
1. Easy Charcuterie Board
If it’s your first one, start with some bagels and croissants and build everything around them. Add some cream cheese, a couple of hard cheeses, sliced or not, some prosciutto, and a piece of the salami of your choice.
Add a couple of dips (some tzatziki, mayo, avocado paste), crunchy veggies, tomatoes, a couple of salad leaves in the corner, some nuts for the crunch, and some fruit. Mix sweet and tangy fruit for diversity. Don’t forget about mustard, pickles, and some chocolate chunks, near the fruit. Everybody will be satisfied.
2. Charcuterie Board for Dinner
What goes on a charcuterie board for dinner? Some light options. After all, it should be a chill, no-stress meal. So, how about a Mediterranean appetizer board?
Hummus, roasted eggplant, zucchini, plenty of nuts, pita or bread, cucumbers, carrots, cherry tomatoes, salads and green leaves, juicy grapes, dried apricots, fresh peaches, prosciutto and feta cheese, olives, and… Is there anything that we left out?
3. Nordic Inspired Charcuterie Board
How about a hearty, Nordic-inspired assembly for brunch? A robust charcuterie filled with Nordic appetizers will keep everybody full and satiated until dinner.
Salmon, eggs, pickled herring, berries, different mustards, horseradish and mayo dips, Swedish meatballs, some crunchy veggies, such as carrots, radishes, beets, plenty of pretzels, and crackers, cranberry jams, and other preserves, and you’re good to go. For cocktails, that is!
4. Summer Charcuterie Board
For a picnic, for a garden party, for grabbing nibbles for the beach, for enjoying yourself with friends on your terrace, summer entertaining should be casual, light, and refreshing.
Related: Best French Cheeses
Choose your cheeses, meats, bread, nuts, crackers, and dips, and go wild on the summer veggies and fruits. Don’t forget about berries, cantaloupes, and melons. Also, always have some wine, beer, or frizzante around.
5. Winter Charcuterie Board
What special touches remind us of winter? Or maybe of the holidays? Maybe some cranberries, scattered about. Or some thyme sprigs or cinnamon sticks. Some candy, gingerbread or Italian Christmas cookies. If you’re creative, you can place your cheeses and meats in the shape of a Christmas tree.
6. Charcuterie Board for Date Night
An appetizer charcuterie board is a good idea for date night. Let’s keep it simple so that you can have more time for yourselves. How about a prosciutto and fig salad board?
You need some green leaves (baby spinach mixed with some arugula and balsamic vinegar work great), slices of prosciutto draped above the salad, some crumbled blue cheese or Parmigiano, plenty of fresh figs, and maybe a drizzle of honey. Some nuts or pistachio sprinkled on top and light wine, and the night is yours.
7. Charcuterie Board for Valentine’s Day
Tiny little candy hearts, chocolates, maybe some V-cards or gummy bears, some champagne. Placing everything into a heart shape on a fancy tray could be a game-changer.
8. Charcuterie Board for Your Party
There’s nothing like a fiesta vibe! Plenty of crudité, types of guac, crackers, tortillas, breads, toasted, Italian cheeses, and meats, and all the dips and spreads you can imagine. Homemade Greek yogurt and cooling cheese dips are the greatest. Roasted peppers and citrus slices will provide some extra flavor and tanginess.
9. Fall Charcuterie Board
For Thanksgiving, you can prepare a creative appetizer. What to put on a charcuterie board for the fall?
Seasonal vegetables and fruit such as pears and grapes go great with this idea. Add a variety of turkey hams and meats, sweet potato dips or chips, pumpkin bread, and caramel apples. Decorate your board with small pumpkins and have fun!
10. Charcuterie Board for Movie Nights
There are many ideas for charcuterie boards for entertaining friends. “Jarcuteries” (charcuteries assembled in jars), boozy hot chocolate & s’mores, tiny burgers & cheese, you name it! Don’t forget the popcorn, though!
11. Vegan Charcuterie Board
Vegan charcuterie boards do not sacrifice taste. You can always choose vegan replacements for meats and vegan cheeses or maybe ditch them altogether.
A great array of nut spreads, seed pâtés, hummus, baba ganoush, mint dips, roasted nuts, and chickpeas will make everyone happy. Add plenty of veggies, raw and roasted, nuts, and fruit.
Don’t forget about dips and sauces, and, of course, many types of bread. Indian chutneys can also be a great addition to a vegan charcuterie board. Garnish with herbs, blooms, and edible flowers, and everybody will be Instagramming instantly!
12. Sweet Charcuterie Board
You don’t need much for this and everybody will love it. Chocolate fountains are so passe! A chocolate and fruit charcuterie board is the new thing! Strawberries, bananas, marshmallows, mini cookies, sticks, graham crackers, pretzels, and some prosecco, and you are all set.
13. Kids-party Charcuterie Board
Choose a colorful plate (maybe find some trays and bowls made from colorful paper, to avoid accidents) and fill it with kid-friendly foods. Choose from fruit, veggies, healthy dips, potato chips, mini assorted sandwiches, baked goods, peanut butter and jelly (watch out for allergies though!), cheese, popcorn, crackers, donuts, juice boxes.
Kids will also love a pancake or waffle charcuterie board with plenty of fruit, maple syrup, chocolate chips, and some light crème fraîche. Wouldn’t you?
Now that you are full of great charcuterie board ideas, let us give you a few tips and tricks to help help your board look even more Insta-ready.
Buy some fancy small dishes, bowls, and plates for serving. Before you raid the deli, maybe raid the shops! Antiques work great. Get little spoons, forks, and tiny knives: choose sturdy knives for cutting hard cheeses and meats. But maybe choose ones with a decorated handle to pop more color and catch the eye.
Adding labels is always a cute idea. Play with the textures of the serving tools as well: wood, glass, metal, ceramics, marble, will create a playful setting. And always, always play with it! Food made with love tastes better!
A Few Last Tips for Creating an Amazing Charcuterie Board
You need texture and color
Foods that pop make a great impression: red fruit (tomatoes, berries, cherries), green leaves, and green veggies or fruit (kale, salads, mint, spinach, grapes, apple slices, herbs). You’ll have many brown tones from the meats and many yellow tones from the cheeses. Colors will help. Make sure to spread the colors around, not close to each other.
In terms of texture, you want smooth elements, such as dips and spreads, and edgy surfaces, such as crackers. You need crunchy and soft altogether.
You need to combine all the flavors
Sugar and spice and everything nice. A good charcuterie board incorporates all flavors. That keeps aromas and tastes in balance, and everyone can find what they desire:
Meats and cheeses are your savory elements. As well as hummus, mayo, or other spreads.
Fruit (fresh and dried), jams, preserves, honey, jellies, spreads, they can all be sweet.
Cured meats and cheeses are usually salty. Also, crackers, bread, nuts, dips, and sauces are other salty touches your board needs.
Even if you don’t fancy spicy foods, add a couple of options for your guests as they might love a touch of heat. Here are some choices: Habanero mango cheddar, hot pepper jellies, hot pepper sauces, mustards, or mayo. Just make sure to label them.
Citrus, berries, green apples, jellies, jams, preserves, sauces, dips, and pickles are needed here as well. The acidity of tangy foods works well with rich meats and cheeses. Besides the sweet, the sour makes it even better. You can even add some bitter flavors if you fancy.
Garlic paste, horseradish paste, dill dip, chives, aromatic herbs here and there, anchovy paste, lemon zest, orange zest, slices of lime, there are so many options!
Can I make a charcuterie board ahead? If you’re wondering this, you’re not the only one. And yes, besides bread and crackers, you can slice everything, cover, and refrigerate. So too the pastes, jams, dips, mustard, fruit, veggies – covered bowls in the fridge. Make sure to assemble it all before you cut the bread or bagels. Also, serve them at room temperature. Not too cold because the flavor will be bland. And not too late because many ingredients will dry out or get soggy.
What wine to serve with charcuterie boards
We’re pretty sure you already have a couple of charcuterie board ideas taking shape in your head. But before we give you some more suggestions, fitting for all kinds of events, we must talk pairing. Don’t forget about the wines you’re going to pair up with your charcuterie board: prosecco is light enough and goes with just about everything. So does white wine. Champagne can be a festive choice. But don’t dismiss red wines. They can also complement meats, cheeses, and bread.
- Merlot or Pinot Noir or any medium-body red wine will go great with salty meats.
- Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, and Chardonnay will also work, adding a splash of acidic flavor, freshness, and brightness.
- Cider, beer, gin & tonic also make a great pairing.